Sexist Ads: Through the Ages

Oh, the glories of being a woman. Cooking. Cleaning. Waiting for your man. And when you find the time, working on that curvaceous figure that everyone craves. Or was it slim figure? We just can’t keep up. Actually, thinking about it, are we smart enough to drive nowadays? What’s the 411 with that?

It seems the idea of what it is to ‘be feminine’ has changed drastically over years. We need to ‘man up’ and ‘stop being so fickle’. And if the adverts of yesteryear are anything to go by, they weren’t opposed to men abusing their wives if they bought the wrong coffee either… But have things really changed? Join us as we compare and contrast the old and new of seriously demeaning, objectifying and sexist ads.

Your body isn’t good enough.
In the 1920’s we were ‘too skinny’…

1920

…Vs. us all being ‘too fat’ in 2015

2015

The 1970’s gave us cars
… that were FINALLY simple enough for a woman to drive. Phew.

1970s

Hey, men! Want to get laid? Buy a car and she’s yours

BMW-2008

Us women and our little lady brains, what are we like eh?

1950's

At least we knew where we belonged back then!

1950's

Under a mans foot, of course!

this-is-a-modern-ad-for-valentino-at-least-the-woman-as-rug-image-was-a-joke

1951-show-her-its-a-mans-world

Or in an abusive relationship?

898f92b1ebdcaa89a84cb6bf16a4eb38

898f92b1ebdcaa89a84cb6bf16a4eb38

But at least our husbands could pre-empt our cleaning desires back in the ‘good old days’

1950s

Oh wait…

today-home-appliances-are-still-the-key-her-heart

The 1950’s showed us coffee-induced domestic violence…

1952

…And Ford India has kept it alive and well

2013

From the 70’s when ‘innocence is sexier than you think.’

1974

This recent ad from Tom Ford. Just. Plain. Weird.

thylane

Apparently masculinity is saving a woman from a gorilla in a river. With your top off.

1950

…Tell that to Brad.

1999

But we’ve consistently understood who our best friend is, right girls?

2007

sexism10-520x366

For the record, we absolutely detest all of the sexist ads shown on this page. What do they teach us a society? They condition us to see women as objects. As slaves. As submissive. Wake up call: WE’RE NOT. We are equals, believe it or not.

As one of the UK’s leading anti-bullying charities, we are constantly researching the current landscape of equality, both online and offline. We took to Google and Bing – both leading search engines, to find out what the most searched for terms were surrounding different demographic profiles. Some of the results were so abusive, they have already been hidden by the search engines.

singlemothers

blondes

feminists

gaypeople

goths

interracial

men

tattoos

women

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of meeting up with the wonderful Dustin Lance Black for a couple of hours. We talked Ditch the Label, bullying, transatlantic equality… and cake. I also spoke to Dustin about his upbringing and career inspirations and I may or may not have made a few blunders along the way. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video – we’ve split it up into 2, for your viewing pleasure (and because it would have taken ages to upload otherwise). Huge thank you to @DLanceBlack for his time and for all of the positive work he does and to @OllyPike for heading up the production.

Liam x

You can find out more about Dustin Lance Black and his work on his official website. If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in the interview, support is available in the Ditch the Label Hub.

Last week, we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing ex-rugby worldwide champion, turned bullying activist – Ben Cohen, who now runs the StandUp Foundation. We spoke with Ben about bullying, gender in sport, homophobia and gay issues and life with a disability. Here goes…

Ditch the Label: Hi Ben, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.
Ben Cohen: Not at all, I think it’s great what you guys are doing so it’s my pleasure.

Ditch the Label: Thank you. So what made you decide to go from playing rugby to setting up the StandUp Foundation, which helps fund anti-bullying projects and campaigns?
Ben Cohen: A few years ago, my dad sadly died after sustaining injuries when trying to stand up for an attack victim, which had a huge knock-on effect with the entire family. Shortly after, a friend of mine pointed out a fan page for me on Facebook, which had thousands of gay fans, which was an absolute honour. At this point I realized that I had become a role model and felt like I could bridge a gap between the gay and straight communities. Having been a world rugby champion, I had a lot of doors open to me and so in 2007, I launched the foundation. Since then we have grown organically and has been a great way for me to channel the anger and hurt that arose from everything that happened with my dad into something positive.

Ditch the Label: Growing up, were you ever bullied?
Ben Cohen: Not so much. I was always the person who would stand up for others. I was brought up with very strong values about being nice to others and so it has always been one of my core values. My mum was heavily bullied as a child as she didn’t live with her parents; she was bullied profusely, along with both of her brothers, which is hard to take in.

Ditch the Label: Did you ever feel pressured into having certain interests that were perceived as being more masculine?
Ben Cohen: It’s surprising because my uncle George was a world champion football player, my dad was also a really good player but I was always useless at it. I was never strong academically and I took a strong interest in rugby, which helped in many ways. So no, I was never really pressured into anything.

Ditch the Label: What advice would you give to any young person out there who does have an interest that is slightly different or would like to pursue a career in an avenue that is largely dominated by the opposite sex?
Ben Cohen: Well there is a lot of bullying that goes on around this, not just at school and college but also at home from family members. It’s important to always follow what you want to do and to make your own mistakes, which is how you also learn.

Ditch the Label: How about for other parents out there? What should they do?
Ben Cohen: As a parent, you’ve probably experienced everything that your kids are going through and you will want to try and point them in the right direction but sometimes they will challenge it and rebel against what you say. There is nothing stronger than learning from first hand experiences. It’s about finding a happy medium!

Ditch the Label: On the topic of gender… have you found that certain types of sport are more dominated by different genders?
Ben Cohen: Certainly sports like football, rugby and cricket but I think that things are changing. There has been a huge shift over the past 5 years towards sport that is inclusive of women too. Especially in the USA, women in soccer teams have been filling stadiums, which is great to see.

Ditch the Label: Do you think that there is anything that can be done to balance out the sexes in sport?
Ben Cohen: Well I think a lot of it is already in place. A whole range of sport is covered on TV and hopefully it will continue to snowball. You also find that cultural values and norms play a huge part of it – for instance, in China, there is still a strong belief that men should work and women should stay at home. They say that we follow the USA, which is good because soccer and basketball are their major sporting activities and it’s already a lot more balanced.

Ditch the Label: For the readers that don’t already know, you have a slight hearing impairment, which has made you partly deaf. Have you experienced prejudice for it and has it ever held you back?
Ben Cohen: Nothing too serious. I mean my friends have taken the mick and in the past I have lived in denial about it but I used it to my advantage. I actually became the strongest communicator on the pitch because I would commentate on everything I did which really helped. I now use it to empower others, a disability, whether major or minor should never hold you back. It can’t take over your life, you have to do what you love.

Ditch the Label: Recently you were wrongly ‘outed’ as being gay by MP Jon Bercow, how did you feel about it? Do you think that it puts other straight men off supporting gay rights?
Ben Cohen: I hope not! Honestly, I think it’s funny. I don’t mind at all. I am so comfortable with my sexuality so it isn’t a big deal at all. It was funnier that it ended up in the press. Poor Jon, he felt awful!

Ditch the Label: You have quite a large online following. How is that? Do you ever experience any negativity?
Ben Cohen: I don’t actually get much negativity. I see the Internet as having as many pros as cons. Firstly, it’s a great way of connecting with people. It enables me to connect with my audience and to get our messages out there. We help connect other people too. I have found that the Internet can be a really strong and caring community. Once a guy commented on my Facebook page and said that he wanted to kill himself. A few people saw it and reached out to him, took him to a shelter, got him new clothes and managed to find him a job and it completely turned his life around.

Ditch the Label: What advice would you give to anybody reading this who is either being bullied or is finding it difficult to identify and accept themselves?
Ben Cohen: Key piece of advice: seek help. It may not come from the first or second person you approach but it is out there and people are there to support you. It may be a family member, a friend, teacher or a counsellor – never feel like you are alone because you aren’t. Getting to your final fuse is not an option. Whether you’re in the closet, perceived as being different or bullied for a different reason, there is help out there for you.

Ditch the Label: What advice would you give to any parents reading this who are concerned about their child’s Internet usage?
Ben Cohen: It’s your responsibility to monitor and safeguard the content that they are viewing. There is software that you can use to ensure that you child isn’t being exposed to anything sensitive and it is always important to create an open and honest dialogue with your child so that they know they can approach you with any concerns or questions.